A chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe – London street urchin turned legendary swashbuckling adventurer – risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox – and Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent a contentious continent through the newborn power of finance.
The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson’s award-winning series, spans the late 17th and early 18th centuries, combining history, adventure, science, invention, piracy, and alchemy into one sweeping tale. It is a gloriously rich, entertaining, and endlessly inventive historical epic populated by the likes of Isaac Newton, William of Orange, Benjamin Franklin, and King Louis XIV, along with some of the most inventive literary characters in modern fiction.
Audible’s complete and unabridged presentation of The Baroque Cycle was produced in cooperation with Neal Stephenson. Each volume includes an exclusive introduction read by the author.
Listen to more titles in the Baroque Cycle.
©2003 Neal Stephenson (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“Bawdy, learned, hilarious, and utterly compelling, [it] is sprawling to the point of insanity and resoundingly, joyously good.” (Times of London)
“Thrillingly clever, suspenseful, and amusing.” (New York Times Book Review)
"Most tales of 'olde' times are replete with castles, robed lords and ladies, and handsome men on horseback. But what about the wretches they pass on the side of the road as they go off to a lively joust?
I thought about giving it one star but at least parts of it were interesting. This story has no direction. No plot. Nothing. I started this series because I heard it was good and it is rated well but so far it is seriously lacking.
Neal Stephenson once again brilliantly exposes us to a the unimagined complexity of the lives of other people, in an area that it never even occurred to me to wonder about. A fantastic exploration of the world of the 17th century. Very enjoyable narration, as well.
I listening to the series - this time in the order the books were written - two years after the first listen. I don't do this often and never with a gap of only two years. But the content of Stephenson's books is so dense and some of his best lines so subtle that the material feels fresh and worth paying attention to.
At the top of audio books. A very good performance for the period in history.
This is book 2 of 8 in the Baroque series, for that point I cannot really comment on the how much I like the story. That said, the story line is excellent and we are properly introduced to important characters.Toe rad this author, I find myself going away during the book and researching the real history line. In this book especially William of Orange. The author is marvelous at spinning a story line around historical facts.To read how the binary code was understood at this point in history and how it was initially used as encryption for covert notes for me is fascinating. I cannot get enough of the bridges that Stevenson fills for me with respect to trade, the power cities. the early frauds, all of this is power packed.
Both Jack and Eliza came to life.
I would not rename the book. The series of these books is written for the common persons lot in life. The Vagabond is a very important element in the development of European society, and in fact globally that the story must be told.This character and way of life is rarely told.
I find that I must replay chapters continuously, this series is not cops and robbers with a lot of words going nowhere and wham bam climax. For me, in order to get the real message behind the story, I have to listen again, because the nuances and intrigue are very important later on in the novel and series.It is like learning math, miss a section and you cannot solve the equation. Same with Stevenson's writings.
To me, this seemed a way for the author to create or relive banter between a difficult pair of individuals. The story has no particular interest or meaning other than that. If you're not keen on listening to how a blithe idiot associates with a slutty but highly intelligent conniving woman, skip this. I was, however, very happy with the end. The useless pair (apparently) received the fruits of their labors.
Retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer; just trying to heal up all that's been broken these last 22 years and enjoy my family and workshop.
That's is the first and most important thing to say about having this book on audio vs text. An amazing character development for which Stephenson I'd so adept. This was a wonderful 2nd book of "The Baroque" series and I most enjoyed that he went from high left oligarchy/royalty to salt of the earth recognition and rendering of the far right characters who endured the realities of the common person with the pulses of entrepreneurship flowing in their veins.
Simon Preble is a fantastic narrator, his pace and tone are always appropriate, and his characterizations give life and are never over the top.
now the story, I am a long time fan of Neil Stephenson, and like all his books this is compelling and well paced, more action in then Quicksilver, if you are looking for that, exhaustively detailed. the majority of yhe novel maintains a very light, adventurous tone, the character seem both charmed and charming. The last few chapters though, get heavy, or rather are brought down to earth. SPOILER : In the book there are two very different instances of sexual assault, they are realistic and not sensationalized, but nonetheless it took me a moment to get back into the story.
This is the second of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books that I have listened to, and they just keep getting better. They have the feel of Umberto Eco's work, but without trying to overwhelm the reader. Stephenson presents a realistic view of the world in 17th century Europe. Its accordingly dark, bleak, and savage, but also very beautiful. Also, do not expect a happy ending-instead, look forward to a real one. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
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